After much contemplation, I again decided to serve as an election judge on Tuesday, despite my reservations due to COVID-19. I have quarantined in my own home since, where I have separated myself from even my husband, in order to protect those I love in case I was exposed in that act of service. Today I will miss the annual tradition of making lefse with my 85-year-old mother because I felt fair and smooth elections were important and should be supported. I am not sorry I made that choice, but listening for days now as the leaders of our nation call into question our most sacred democratic experiences so easily — and with, as far as I can discern, little concrete evidence of specific malfeasance — makes me angry, disappointed in our elected officials and fearful for the integrity of our democracy.
Opening the paper to read of the comments on Minnesota's election by congresswoman-elect Michelle Fishbach and hear of her interview on a national program on Fox News is the final straw ("Minnesota Republicans back Trump's claims," front page, Nov. 7). How an elected leader from our own state, who will take office based on those same election results, can slap each election official and worker in the face with comments questioning our integrity publicly and even nationally without concrete evidence is shameful. The same article quoted Mike Lindell, Trump campaign chairman for Minnesota and MyPillow CEO, as saying the results must be wrong because he doesn't know anyone who would vote for President-elect Joe Biden or Sen. Tina Smith. Get your head out of your pillow, Mike! When we can question the integrity of an election based on the fact that we don't talk to anyone outside our social bubble, we are doomed as a country.
In case you are interested, I have never experienced anything as I have acted as a Minnesota election judge that has called into question the integrity of the process. Instead, I have observed Republicans, Democrats and independents working side by side to make sure each vote is handled according to our laws, while respecting and supporting the right of each citizen to exercise their vote.
Especially in a year where the pandemic could have stifled that right, we should be celebrating that a record number of people in this nation were able to cast their vote. That is an amazing feat and a reflection on the hard work and preparation of election officials in every state. It should call for thanks and appreciation. When leaders instead focus their unhappiness with the results of a vote onto the process itself, they undermine democracy and disrespect all those working to uphold it.
Elizabeth Leitch-Sell, South Haven, Minn.
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MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is quoted as saying: "I don't know who would even vote for Tina Smith or Biden." And: "People I talked to, everyone I know was voting the other way."
Well, there's your problem, Mr. Lindell. You live in a bubble. Like many of your fellow Americans, you have chosen to associate only with your tribe, excluding people with different experiences, backgrounds and opinions.
Word is that you're considering running for public office — perhaps governor of Minnesota. If you're serious about that, your first step should be to step out of the bubble — to listen to people who have supported other candidates, to speak with them and try to understand their interests, beliefs and hopes.
And wouldn't that set a leadership example for your fellow Minnesotans? While adhering to your core beliefs, you could display an openness to and respect for citizens whose beliefs may differ from yours, but who share with you a love of country and a desire to improve our communities, where we can renew our belief in the American dream.
And wouldn't that set you apart from others in politics, who — rather than demonizing their fellow citizens — want to work with them to address our country's unmet needs?
If you stepped out of your bubble to genuinely connect with Minnesotans of all political stripes, I — along with others — might consider you for office in the future. At the least, it might help you sell more pillows.
Patrick Hirigoyen, St. Paul
Give Biden support denied Trump
Unity and optimism — laudatory presidential goals for sure — were properly recognized by the Star Tribune Editorial Board in Sunday's editorial, "Unifying message won the presidency." But they are only hollow words unless incoming President Joe Biden is given an opportunity to achieve those goals. I don't know how he intends to achieve them — I'm not a political adviser — but I do know what should be avoided if we expect him to succeed. For starters, House Republicans must not boycott his inaugural as some House Democrats did to President Donald Trump; not start a baseless investigation of his advisers before he even takes office, as the previous administrations' FBI did to Trump; not charge him with "collusion" with a foreign government to rig the election, as the Democrats did to Trump; not start an impeachment process that has no merit; and please, not flood the airways with claims of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred 20 years ago.
Maybe if we all give Biden the support that was denied Trump, he will succeed in finding the unity and optimism he hopes to achieve.
Ronald Haskvitz, Golden Valley
Ranked-choice would fix this
Now that the election is over, it is time to address an alleged attempt by partisans of a major political party to subvert the will of voters. Republican "operatives" may have persuaded a person to enter the Second Congressional District race as a candidate for the Marijuana Now party. This would have been a Republican advantage designed to draw away votes from eventual winner, Democrat Angie Craig. Craig won her seat by less than 10,000 votes while the Marijuana Now candidate received over 24,000 votes.
Two years from now, will the DFL retaliate by enabling the Anti-Abortion Party or the Law and Order Party to get on the ballot? I think this is a good time to create criminal penalties for this activity. Any support for a third party by a major party (DFL or Republican) including staff, creation and distribution of campaign materials or financial support, should be subject to appropriate criminal penalties.
Another, easier solution, is to have ranked-choice voting for federal offices on a statewide level. This is currently the law in Maine. This would allow a voter to express their high interest in a single issue (e.g., recreational marijuana or abortion), but secondarily, vote for the party most likely to implement that policy. This removes the motivation for the DFL or Republican Party to falsely attempt to draw votes away from the opposing major party candidate. If this reform doesn't pass, it will be interesting to see which party opposes it.
John Jackson, Bloomington
A final round of applause
Answer: The most respected game show host of all time.
Question: Who was Alex Trebek?
P.S. He will be missed by all of us who were regular viewers.
Dan Goldman, Wayzata
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